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America’s crisis of character


William McKinley, the 25th President of the United States, once said, “In acquiring knowledge there is one thing equally important, and that is character. Nothing in the world is worth so much, will last so long, and serve its possessor so well as good character.”

While this is certainly a true statement, sadly William McKinley was one of only four United States presidents who was assassinated while in office. But this does not detract in any way, the value and importance of each of us having good character. Over the years we have had millions of our citizens who have had sterling character, and that is why we became the greatest nation in the history of the world.

However, from my perspective today, we have a character crisis in America. First, what is character? It has been defined as the most prominent attribute, it is the sum total of a person’s features and traits that form an individual’s nature. Some good character traits include Honesty, Kindness, Happiness, Sincerity and Patience. Some bad character traits include Rudeness, Anger, Meanness, Madness, and Greed. Now, I ask you, which do you see the most of in America today? For me, the thing that demonstrates good character is that a person, in all circumstances, will always do the right thing.

The person who has good character would never murder someone, cheat them, constantly lie to them, slander them behind their back, take unfair advantage of them, but will always have their best interest at heart. We could al-

See DAVIDSON, page A6

Jim Davidson Common Ground DAVIDSON

From page A4

ways say that a person who has good character is a very good person. These are the kinds of people we want to be around, have as our children, marry, do business with, and have as our neighbors. Here is a good example of someone who has terrible character, something I saw on Facebook just recently.

A man was driving down the road in his pickup pulling a trailer with a load of hay.

Along comes some low life with no character who tosses a lit cigarette over into this man’s hay and keeps driving.

Soon the hay catches on fire, and before long his trailer is engulfed in flames. A good Samaritan coming from the opposite direction sees the smoke billowing and stops to help the man. He has a fire extinguisher and helps to put out the fire, but the problem this man has is to get his truck unhooked from the trailer before it is completely ruined.

He is successful and, fortunately, was able to save his truck. But sadly, the man who threw the cigarette has poor character, much like too many people in our country. However, there is hope. When my sweet wife Janis and I married, I joined the modern era and got a Smartphone. I now spend from two to three hours each week on Facebook. I am happy to say there are countless good people on there who do great, positive and caring things for others every day.

Some of the stories I have read are so touching and they make me proud to be an American. Together, let’s do our best to help change those people who feel unloved and lack good character.

We can all do better.

Jim Davidson is a longtime Arkansas businessman, civic leader and columnist.. His work has been syndicated in 35 states nationwide.

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